Labor Government slashes bikie
taskforce budget by a third amid fears officers will
be moved on
THE budget for
Queensland’s bikie gang fighters has been slashed by a
third as the State Government refuses to guarantee more
Opposition Leader Tim
Nicholls last night said the cutbacks to Taskforce
Maxima and the planned watering down of the VLAD laws
meant Labor was sending officers on the street with
“their hands tied behind their backs”.
had been told Maxima staff were concerned about
transfers from the Coast and figures from the Opposition
confirmed their fears.
equivalent staff count dropped from 104 in 2014-15 to 95
Police Minister Bill
Byrne would only say the FTE count for 2016-17 and
2017-18 would be subject to “operational requirements”
and “the constant assessment of the threats, risk and
harm posed” by bikies.
The allocated budget
for the taskforce of $2.1 million in 2014-15 had been
slashed to $664,000 in 2015-16.
An extra $800,000 was
provided for organised crime and fighting the ice drug
plague, bringing the total budget to $1.64 million. But
government sources confirmed the figures showed the
blending of budgets across police departments, which had
weakened the taskforce’s role of policing bikies.
“The ice strategy
should sit squarely with the drug squad,” the political
“State Crime’s overall
budget has been shrunk and there is a massive shrinkage
in Maxima and they’ve blended them.”
Mr Nicholls said the
“soft-on-crime Labor Government” was stripping resources
from one of Queensland’s most effective units.
“In the past 12 months
alone, Taskforce Maxima has taken more than $38 million
worth of drugs off Queensland streets, seized more than
$15 million in cash and assets and shut down the
criminal gangs that had taken hold of the Gold Coast,”
Mr Byrne said
Taskforce Maxima did not have an approved strength and
the unit reported now through State Crime Command. “It’s
nonsense to talk about specific taskforce numbers at a
particular point in time,” he said. “It is naive and
reflects a lack of understanding of contemporary
policing practices and the combined might of police
The Police Minister
said that the Palaszczuk Government had committed an
additional $20 million over four years to the police
service to target serious organised crime, including
child exploitation, boiler room fraud, drug trafficking
and outlaw motorcycle gangs.